The 65th minute on December the 10th
Positives, Needs And Hopes
In my lifetime I cannot remember a more obvious sliding doors moment since Lehmann got sent off in the Champions League final.
That’s a long time.
Prior to the 60th minute I was seriously considering the short term future of the club.
It’s hard to think that your quality is too much to avoid a relegation fight when you draw 2-2 with all three of the bottom three.
Added to this fact is the truth that the players at Norwich, Southampton etc…, expect to be fighting relegation and would likely see ‘avoiding relegation’ as a successful season at this point.
Arsenal’s players would see it as hugely embarrassing.
The evidence in our performances was that our players were miles from even wanting to fight.
Prior to the 60th minute I could see a clear pathway to a relegation fight.
Then the 65th minute happened.
A true sliding doors moment for Arsenal Football Club.
The equalizer gave us some confidence but a draw still wasn’t good enough.
Pepe’s goal wasn’t just a sliding doors moment for our club but for him personally.
We went from scared to brimming in confidence. Quite unbelievable.
We are far from returning to glory but the 65th minute has taken the worry away. This worry that Arsenal at 0-1 were going into the toughest period of the season with literally zero confidence and some serious spankings on the horizon.
Would we have deterred coaches from wanting to join the car crash?
Would our big players have asked to jump ship in January?
Would we likely have been in the bottom three at the start of 2020?
I say that all three were likely.
Now, we are 2 points from sitting behind the top four.
Now, we can breathe.
Now we can look forward to qualifying on Thursday.
Now we can look forward to a rockin’ atmosphere on Sunday and a team with some pep (not Pep).
I’ve never experienced the real feeling of considering short term disaster for my club.
Now onto thanking the people who turned this around… ↙️
Having the guts to drop Luiz and Lacazette
I can’t put it any better than @clivepafc who said post game:
“Martinelli is a LEADER.
He plays like a fan would play.
I love how he refuses to hide even though all around him were doing exactly that.
To have that bravery in a new league when no one had any expectations on you is just outstanding.
I won’t forget that.”
He still does everything in the most complicated way possible.
He still loses the ball in dangerous areas.
He still needs to use his one touch option
He still needs to attack one defender with the same enthusiasm that he does with 2 or 3.
He never stopped trying to make the difference when others were playing safe only.
Little by little he’s starting to look very good.
Amazing how possible that is in three games if you are played in your position.
* Chambers and Sokratis
This partnership was our last away win at Newcastle. They were solid then and brave yesterday.
Would’ve liked Chambers, who is capable to break lines, come forward with the ball in the first half though.
Started in safe mode much like others. Finished by taking the initiative and breaking lines.
I maintain that there is a real player in there. Such an athlete and a high ceiling too. Somebody fix his head and we have a player.
* I have a huge list of issues. I’d rather not dampen the vibe after such happiness so here are just a couple of the more important thoughts…
Xhaka has to open his hips as there were many forward passes he rejected.
There is a clear need to sign ideally a both sided full back (see ‘Hopes’ for ideal candidate) with Tierney and Bellerin out.
If Ozil truly wants to continue at Arsenal he has to be the catalyst for swinging games and not just show up when the roses bloom.
* I’m understanding that we don’t have a tall team but Torreira was marking Ogbonna at corners. Hmm!
* I’ve noticed a pattern with Ozil’s successful moments.
When we go ahead opponents get far less concerned about him.
As they start to commit players forward he becomes a panther who has just left his cage. He’s deadly.
Rewatch the game from the 60th minute onwards.
* I’d be stunned if Real Madrid or Dortmund would be ok with this but here goes…..
Arsenal look like they need a full back that can cover for either Bellerin or Tierney. Both sides.
I’m currently researching the options but there is one player that stands out immediately…. Ashraf Hakimi.
A right footed right back on loan from RM at Dortmund, who has been playing predominantly at left back for two seasons.
He is a fantastic player who I believe is an upgrade on Bellerin let alone a stop gap.
With clear needs at DM and CB I see a loan or a cheap purchase (Soares at Southampton/Portugal).
Surely in this day and age someone can invent a drink that gives you ‘supreme confidence!’
Can it be an Arsenal employee?
I love confidence.